Report26 Nov 2023

Kipchumba sets Chinese all-comers’ record in Shanghai


Philimon Kipchumba wins the Shanghai Marathon (© Getty Images)

Philimon Kiptoo Kipchumba of Kenya emerged victorious from a three-man battle in the last kilometres to secure the title at the Shanghai Marathon, a World Athletics Platinum Label road race, improving the Chinese all-comers’ record to 2:05:35 on Sunday (26).

The 25-year-old Kenyan chopped nearly two minutes off his personal best of 2:07:28, set when winning the 2022 Munich Marathon, beating the course record of 2:07:14 set by compatriot Paul Lonyangata eight years ago, and smashing the Chinese all-comers’ record of 2:06:19 set by Kenya’s Moses Mosop in Xiamen in 2015.

It's the third marathon title of the year for Kipchumba, who has remained unbeaten in 2023 following victories in Hong Kong in February and Xiamen in April.

“It’s my first time in Shanghai. The course is very good and the weather for today is perfect,” said Kipchumba. “I am so grateful to win the race and to break the course record, and even China’s (all-comers’) record.”

Running under sunny but cool weather conditions, a crowded leading pack of about 15 runners led the men’s race to a fast pace in early stages, hitting the 10km mark in 29:50, 15km in 44:48 and 20km in 59:55.

After the leaders passed the 25km water tables, only four runners managed to keep up with the pacer, including Kipchumba, Kenyan duo Solomon Kirwa Yego and Kenneth Keter, as well as Tanzania’s 2017 world bronze medallist Alphonce Simbu.

The pacer stepped off the course soon after the leading quartet passed 30km in 1:29:24, by which point they were already more than one minute ahead of course record pace. And the leading group kept pushing ahead.

After 38km, the 36-year-old Yego – a 2:06:24 performer and winner of the 2023 Copenhagen Marathon – was the first to make his move. Although his attempt to pull clear was in vain, Keter started to fade away. Simbu then sped up to take the pole position near 40km. But both Yego and Kipchumba managed to keep up.

The three men were neck-and-neck with just one kilometre to go, but the in-form Kipchumba waited for another 500m to launch his final charge, going on to win in 2:05:35.

Simbu – twice a top-eight finisher at the Olympic Games – trailed four seconds behind Kipchumba to take second place with a PB of 2:05:39, followed by Yego in 2:05:42.

The organisers had assembled a quality field in the women’s race, which featured five sub-2:21 runners headed by Tadu Teshome of Ethiopia with a PB of 2:17:36, the pace of the first 15km was relatively slow compared to the course record time of 2:20:36 set by Ethiopian Yebrgual Melese in 2018.

Teshome led a group of 10 runners through the opening five kilometres in 17:00 before passing 10km in 33:47 and 15km in 50:36. The lead pack was trimmed to six after hitting the 20km mark in 1:07:01, and the pre-race favourite Teshome started to drift away after 30km.

Ethiopia’s Siranesh Yirga, a 2:21:08 performer, managed to pull clear near the 35km mark. At 40km, the 23-year-old was already about 200m ahead of the sole chaser Selly Chepyego of Kenya.

Yirga kept her pace until breaking the tape in 2:21:28. It is the fourth marathon title in five races for the rising Ethiopian, who just moved to the classic distance in 2022, securing victories in Lagos, Madrid and Ljubljana last year and finishing third in Dubai this February.

Kenyan veteran Chepyego, 38, finished second in 2:21:55, the fourth fastest time of her career. Bahrain’s Asian Games champion Eunice Chumba took third in 2:22:20.

Vincent Wu for World Athletics

Leading results

1 Siranesh Yirga Dagne (ETH) 2:21:28
2 Selly Chepyego Kaptich (KEN) 2:21:51
3 Eunice Chebichii Chumba (KEN) 2:22:20
4 Sandra Felis Chebet Tuei (KEN) 2:22:22
5 Emily Chepkemoi Arusio (KEN) 2:23:40
6 Tadu Teshome Nare (ETH) 2:25:05
7 Chernet Misganaw Takele (ETH) 2:26:16
8 Jackline Sakilu (TAN) 2:26:50

1 Philimon Kitoo Kipchumba (KEN) 2:05:35
2 Alphonce Felix Simbu (TAN) 2:05:39
3 Solomon Kirwa Yego (KEN) 2:05:42
4 Kenneth Keter (KEN) 2:05:53
5 Enoch Onchari (KEN) 2:07:47
6 Kinde Atanew Ayaler (ETH) 2:08:27
7 Debesay Desale Tekelemarian (ETH) 2:09:19
8 Nicholas Kirwa (KEN) 2:11:16

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